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Shakespeare and Stratford

William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon

Splitting Time

From the late 1580s, William Shakespeare started to divide his time up between Stratford-upon-Avon and London; his family and professional lives.

Shakespeare’s wife and children remained in Stratford and he made most of his financial investments in his home town. This certainly suggests that he cared about their (and his) comfort and status in Stratford.

His first significant investment came in 1597 with the high profile purchase of a large family home in the centre of town, known as New Place.

New Place was a considerable dwelling and gave Shakespeare and his family an impressive social status. This was to be his family home and could have offered him the focus he needed to be a full-time writer.

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, / Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, / Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 1

Shakespeare's Commute

Shakespeare was only ever an intermittent lodger in London, and there are very few references to him there between 1604 and 1612. There were good links between Stratford-upon-Avon and London, so Shakespeare probably commuted to and fro when he had to (a journey that would have taken about three days).

Shakespeare’s other investments in Stratford-upon-Avon included an estate of 107 acres of land in the open fields of Old Stratford, which he purchased in 1602 for £320, a considerable sum of money in the Elizabethan era.

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